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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Extra duties with the same pay

Extra duties with the same pay

Words by Francis Kahihu:

At the start of a job engagement, employees are engaged in salary negotiations as the company determines the value of the employee. There are various considerations that could be used in the determination of the starting salary for an employee. Many employers consider the nature of the work, the level of training and experience, and the availability of funding to set the salary and benefits that would support a certain position. The negotiation process is usually the opportunity for both the employer and employee to agree on salary expectations.

Long after the employee has taken up a job with the agreed salary, there arises cases when the employee has to take up extra duties. It could be that the company has expanded or another employee has exited the company and takes a while to be replaced. It could also be that the employer has realized extra capacities in the employee that would call for them to undertake extra responsibilities at work.

The question has been whether extra tasks should always result in the adjustment of the employees’ salaries. Not always, but should be an issue for discussion between the employee and the employer. In the event that an employee gets extra duties, there is usually a natural, almost a reflex expectation, to demand for a renegotiation of the salary. Normally, for those employees who serve in an acting capacity for a period of one month continuously, there should be a consideration of an acting allowance. This happens when one of the team members, mainly the boss, has left for extra engagements yet the job has to be done. Many employers rarely consider some extra allowance for employees acting for persons either in similar or lower levels yet their responsibilities would have been added.

Many employers have been uncomfortable with employees who request for salary adjustments to match the added responsibilities. They have branded them as not willing to offer extra service to the company and this has led to the misuse of staff in various incidences. It is worth noting that the employer would have continued paying the salaries of the staff who either depart or the one who should have been employed to take up the extra tasks. It is then not fair for those employees who request for a pay rise to be branded as not willing to go the extra mile.

Negotiation of salary adjustments should however be made in a manner that seeks to justify the request. The employee must show how the extra tasks make them go out of their way to meet the extra targets and not just indicate that they have more work. There are incidences when the employees would have been under worked in the first place and the availability of extra tasks only places them on the level of workload they should have been at the start.

Employees should not always seek for a pay adjustment every time they have extra tasks. Extra duties at work mean extra thinking and creativity to undertake new engagements. These should always be taken as learning opportunities that enhance exposure and skill building that is critical in an employee’s professional development. I have heard of employees who actually seek for extra tasks from their bosses at no extra pay as they seek to expand their experience base hence building on their competencies. Opportunities to act on behalf of colleagues who have left the organizations could be great learning points especially if the opportunities involve tasks different from what you have been doing. This could be an opportunity for you to prove to the management that you can actually undertake greater responsibilities hence enhancing your prospects of future consideration for promotions as opportunities arise.

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